New Tools Update: A Tweet Pandemic

I've written before on my ambivalence about Twitter; in my last post on the subject, I worried that it might be harming our ability to think meaningfully about things (and it turns out I'm not the only one that thinks this). However, while I still reserve the right to question the value of a constant feed of celebrities' vapid musings, dietary details, and other such minutia, I also admit that Twitter has great potential for innovative applications.

In my last post, I talked about the Twitter Vote Project. Now, Twitter is also helping to track the spread of the swine flu. From an MSNBC story about the project:

"Our site used to update every hour," said John Brownstein, a physician at Children's Hospital Boston who, along with fellow CHB computer scientist Clark Friefeld, created the HealthMap swine flu tracking service, which was recently modified to include Twitter updates. "But that was too slow for the amount of information we've been accumulating, so we had to switch to a Twitter feed instead."

You can also check out the CDC Emergency feed on Twitter here for constant updates about the swine flu.